Staff can often be very resourceful in making poor systems and processes work and to overcome data problems within an organisation. If people are based in a single office then they can call out questions like:
- “Do you remember who did…”
- “How did we solve….”
- “Where is the information on….”
- And so on
I used to give a similar answer about why many smaller organisations were less affected by poor data quality than they would be if they were larger – namely, being close to colleagues and able to verbally resolve issues acts as a ‘sticking plaster’ to overcome data problems.
If you have teams on different sites or in different rooms, then the ‘sticking plaster’ example above will certainly not work. However, even in large organisations, if a team is in the same working area, then they can still use this sticking plaster approach for their activities, however, anyone outside the team who is trying to access, understand and use their data, perhaps for strategic planning, is likely to encounter challenges. This is when data quality starts to make a difference to the success of an organisation.
Most office based staff, assuming they are not furloughed, are now working in some form of lockdown from their own homes. This means that issues arising from poor data, inconsistent data storage, ineffective data sharing etc. are likely to be significantly worse than the normal working environment last year (which now seems like a long time ago). This is especially true for any data, documents and records that exist only in physical form in filing cabinets, desk drawers and on shelves.
So, a few questions for you to consider about how your organisation has fared during lockdown:
- Have your staff been able to easily access all the information needed to do their job?
- Are there multiple versions of the same information, inconsistent information or poor quality data
- How has productivity changed since starting lockdown? If productivity is lower, is this significantly so?
- Do staff have to send lots of messages to each other and make numerous calls to complete activities that used to work smoothly when in the office?
- Has customer satisfaction increased, decreased or stayed the same?
When we come out of lockdown and start to discover what the ‘new normal’ is in the economy, almost certainly only the most efficient and fittest businesses will survive and thrive.
Based on what you have learned during lockdown:
- What weaknesses, problems and inefficiencies have become evident?
- How easy is it for staff to find the information needed to do their jobs and is this information any good?
- What changes are needed to improve quality, efficiency and profitability?
- Will better data exploitation improve efficiency, profitability and quality?
There could be many areas that you are hoping to improve – for any data exploitation related ones, then we may be able to help. Relevant services include:
- Online data related training – to increase staff awareness and skills in an affordable way
- Virtual Chief Data Officer (CDO) – Providing strategic direction to your data related activities without increasing headcount
- ‘Critical Friend’ support – ongoing coaching of staff, review of documents, facilitation of ‘difficult’ meetings etc.
- Data Quality Maturity Assessment – objective assessment of your areas of strength/ weakness based on ISO 8000-61
- Or any other data related challenge you may have!
Data does not have to be difficult!